EVENT MONEY

New shire tourism strat­egy

Southern Riverina news - - Front Page -

Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil will dip in to its own cof­fers to help grow the tourism in­dus­try in the shire.

Coun­cil has an­nounced a new tourism push, which will see it of­fer seed fund­ing for new events with the po­ten­tial to in­crease vis­i­tor num­bers.

It will also form an events man­age­ment com­mit­tee tasked with im­ple­ment­ing the shire’s new Tourism Events Strat­egy.

The strat­egy sets a guide­line for fu­ture tourism and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ments for shire com­mu­ni­ties, in­clud­ing the de­vel­op­ment of new events.

Ber­ri­gan Shire Coun­cil gen­eral man­ager Rowan Perkins said the ob­jec­tive of im­prov­ing tourism within the com­mu­nity has been bol­stered by a more proac­tive ap­proach to fund­ing.

He said coun­cil’s new ap­proach was based on the be­lief that a stronger tourism in­dus­try would have sig­nif­i­cant flow on ben­e­fits for the wider com­mu­nity.

‘‘Coun­cil has bud­geted for a pool of funds to be made avail­able to event or­gan­is­ers who re­quire start-up monies to de­velop their events.

‘‘The ob­jec­tive of coun­cil is to pro­vide the shire’s tourism in­dus­try with a boost, as we play host to sig­nif­i­cant events in the shire that at­tract lots of overnight vis­i­tors to en­joy the fes­tiv­i­ties.

‘‘We hope to en­cour­age the de­vel­op­ment of a cal­en­dar of events that will en­hance the shire’s rep­u­ta­tion as a place to visit, and we are par­tic­u­larly look­ing to event or­gan­is­ers to com­mit to grow­ing events so that they are self sus­tain­ing fi­nan­cially.

‘‘Of course, we would love to have sev­eral mar­quee events in our Shire.

‘‘We un­der­stand that an event may take time to de­velop, but we are seek­ing to sup­port or­gan­is­ers who have that sort of as­pi­ra­tion.’’

With suc­cess sto­ries like the De­niliquin Ute Muster and the Parkes Elvis Fes­ti­val in mind, Ber­ri­gan Coun­cil be­lieves a com­mu­nity ap­proach is needed to progress tourism.

Coun­cil sees the ex­pan­sion of events as key ac­tion to in­crease the num­ber of peo­ple vis­it­ing and stay­ing in the area.

By en­gag­ing with com­mu­nity mem­bers, coun­cil hopes to com­bine lo­cal en­thu­si­asm with event man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence.

Coun­cil is invit­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers to reg­is­ter an ex­pres­sion of in­ter­est in be­ing part of the new Events Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee, and is look­ing for a mix of en­thu­si­asm and ex­pe­ri­ence.

As a com­mit­tee of coun­cil, com­mit­tee mem­bers will have the role of en­gag­ing with event or­gan­is­ers who wish to grow ex­ist­ing events or to cre­ate new events which have the po­ten­tial to at­tract sig­nif­i­cant num­bers of vis­i­tors to the area.

‘‘The com­mit­tee will adopt a set of cri­te­ria to as­sess fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions from event or­gan­is­ers, and then to al­lo­cate and mon­i­tor the use of funds of the events and re­port on the suc­cess or oth­er­wise to coun­cil,’’ Mr Perkins said.

Coun­cil has high­lighted the growth of the up­com­ing Ba­rooga Strings Mu­sic Fes­ti­val as a fo­cus point for the com­mit­tee, as well as ex­ist­ing an­nual events which could be im­proved.

It says the Ba­rooga fes­ti­val has the po­ten­tial to be­come a sig­nif­i­cant draw­card, tap­ping into mu­sic lovers from Melbourne, re­gional Vic­to­ria and south­ern NSW.

Events like the Fin­ley, Tocumwal and Ba­rooga rodeos, and the Ber­ri­gan and Tocumwal Cup race meet­ings are ex­pected to grow un­der the guid­ance of the com­mit­tee, as well as the Hot Rod Run and Tocumwal Win­ter Fes­ti­val.

Coun­cil has also dis­cussed po­ten­tially stag­ing a re­peat of the North Tup­pal Shear­ing event.

Com­mu­nity mem­bers on the com­mit­tee will serve with two Ber­ri­gan Shire coun­cil­lors.

Mr Perkins hopes to have the com­mit­tee formed as soon as pos­si­ble fol­low­ing the June 12 clos­ing date for com­mit­tee mem­ber ap­pli­ca­tions.

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